I’m seeing a LOT of ads in my newsfeed this last fortnight about using all this time in isolation to start your podcast.
They’ve got creative copy and slick sales pages and webinars that hype you up and make it all seem so easy.
“Just use my simple strategy, and you too could be number 1 in the iTunes Charts* by day 14 of self-quarantine.”
I’ve also had a number of conversations with my clients about various things they suddenly feel they ‘should’ be doing because they saw it on a sales page, or a webinar, or a Facebook ad.
So today I want to share my thoughts with you on the reasons not to start a podcast during a pandemic.
You might be thinking, why on earth is a podcast producer telling people not to start a podcast right now?
Just so we’re clear, I’m all for podcasts all the time, and if you do want to start one (now or sometime down the track), I’m happy to chat through options with you.
If you’re already a podcaster, then I recommend checking out my previous post, about how continuing to podcast during this time can be so valuable to your audience.
However, this post today is for those of you who haven’t got a podcast yet.
I’m not necessarily saying you shouldn’t start a podcast during a pandemic.
But I want you to know that it’s not the right thing for everyone, it’s not necessarily the right time for you, and it’s not as easy as those IG influencers make it seem.
Reason 1: You are enough, already and always, with or without a podcast (and whether or not you use your time in isolation “productively”.)
You probably have enough to do already just dealing with the current situation. You don’t need to add more to your plate. There’s every likelihood that you’re just trying to keep your head above water, financially, emotionally, and generally.
The thing about this situation is that it’s a huge change for all of us, an intense stress for many of us, and the various influencers on the internet have created or added to the sense of scarcity and not-enough-ness that many people already felt.
If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands at home and would like to learn a new skill or start a hobby, or finish that home improvement project, then by all means do that.
But most of the people I have spoken to in the last month are not finding this situation like a fun sabbatical at home where they get to do all those things on the to-do list they have put off for years.
Most people I have spoken to, and myself included, are finding it has been a lot of work just to cancel or rearrange things that were supposed to happen in person, and keep up with the regular life tasks, plus deal with the emotional fall out of this.
I have no children to homeschool and I’ve been working from home for over 3 years now and I still found this a big adjustment.
So if all you can do right now is do your best to keep your basic needs met and your basic work or family tasks done, then that’s ok and that’s enough.
You are not ‘less than’ because some stranger with an impossibly perfect Instagram feed told you that NOW was the time to start that podcast and if you don’t use this isolation time well then you’re a loser and you’ll never amount to anything.
No. Just no.
You are enough, already and always.
And right now, you need to be extra careful about what messages you let in your brain, and anyone who is selling things using those FOMO tactics, beware.
You are enough and it’s ok if you just do the bare minimum right now and keep yourself and your loved ones as safe and healthy and sane as possible.
Reason 2: Podcasting requires a serious amount of time and energy, and if you’re outsourcing, it’ll cost you money too.
Unless you’re really sure it’s the right strategy for your business or brand right now (i.e. you were already deep into the planning stages of your podcast before COVID-19 hit) then you probably have better places to direct your time, energy and money right now.
If you’re a business owner and need to pivot or a recently unemployed person looking for ways to keep food on the table, starting a podcast is very likely a distraction that you don’t need.
And if you’re adjusting to working from home and/or homeschooling and/or just trying to keep your anxiety at bay amidst all this scary news and dramatic changes to the way the world works, then those are definitely the important and urgent places you should be devoting your time, energy and money right now.
Despite what the people with the shiny sales pages will tell you, podcasts are NOT a fast-track to increased sales and revenue, massive audience and instant credibility.
Anyone who tells you a podcast can deliver you that in a short amount of time is not telling you the truth.
At best, they’re only telling half their story e.g. maybe they started their podcast when they already had 50,000 people on their mailing list, so launching with a huge number of downloads overnight was a much likelier prospect.
At worst, they’re either lying or they don’t know enough to know what they don’t know about podcasting.
Oh and did I mention that you don’t need a fast-track to increased sales and revenue, massive audience and instant credibility to be enough?
You are enough, already and always.
Focus on looking after yourself and your loved ones right now. Do what you need to do to keep yourselves afloat and don’t add unnecessary extra stuff to your already very full plate.
Reason 3: Don’t make major commitments or decisions from a place of grief.
In non-pandemic times, when a loved one dies or a major life change happens, the expert advice is not to make commitments or major life decisions in the midst of that grief.
Now, starting a podcast is obviously not as binding a decision as getting married, buying a house or signing up for a credit card, but it IS a commitment.
Podcasts are a long-term gig.
If you want to start one, then you seriously need to think about it as a 6-12 month commitment minimum.
If you don’t approach it that way, and keeping in mind that it requires a serious amount of time and energy and possibly money, if you don’t make your decision to start a podcast taking all that into account, then you’re likely to contribute to what is called ‘pod fade’.
That’s where a podcast starts, has a few episodes (likely fewer than 7 in total) and then disappears into the ether, never to be heard again.
But even more than that, even if you haven’t had somebody close to you die from this virus, this whole situation is still causing grief.
We are all grieving, individually and collectively, personally and professionally, locally and globally.
There are so many losses associated to COVID-19 already, and it’s far from over yet.
Acknowledgement of that grief can help us be aware of the extra needs we have right now, and it means we need to accept that right now is not the time for new commitments or big life choices on a whim.
Grief turns our worlds upside down, which is also exactly what this pandemic has done, and it takes time for us to adjust.
If you can avoid it, don’t make decisions or commitments right now, and I would count starting a podcast in that category.
Sit with it, write all your ideas down so you don’t forget them, maybe even do lots of research into podcasting.
Book a call with me if you like, I’m happy to chat to you about the options.
But don’t commit to anything new right now. Just let yourself adjust to this new reality we now live in, and let yourself grieve.
Give yourself the gift of time for that, at the very least.
This too shall pass.
It will, eventually. Pandemics don’t last forever.
But it’s still right at the start of this thing and we don’t know how it’s going to unfold or what that will mean for us yet.
Podcasts are wonderful, and I love them, and if you’ve been thinking about starting one for a long time then we can definitely discuss that, but just know that podcasts will be here on the other side of this too.
You won’t miss out if you give yourself the gift of time and patience and preserve whatever energy you have left right now to just keep the necessary things in your life happening.
So if you’ve been feeling lots of FOMO from all the ads in your feed about starting your podcast during your time in isolation, I hope this helps you.
Let me know in the comments.
Take care and I’ll talk to you soon x
*if their ad is calling it iTunes, beware. Apple Podcast nixed that a while back, so it’s a sure sign they’re maybe not as expert as they say they are 😉